It was a dark and stormy night. The wind howled, lightning flashed, rain pounded the swirling trees. And then, just a few years later and a few hundred miles away, I was born. It was the mid-20th century, in the Midlands, in the middle of summer...
Questions I often get asked...
Favourite books?: Far too many to mention, but some of my favourite writers (for grown-ups) include P.G.Wodehouse, George Orwell, Patrick Hamilton, George Gissing, Sarah Waters, Wilkie Collins, Donna Tartt, Richard Yates, Clare Allen, Brian Aldiss, Margaret Atwood, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Edgar Allan Poe.
Why do you write children's books?: Because so many people say I have the mind of a ten-year-old. Besides, you can fill these stories with explosions, robot camels, alien invasions - all the fun stuff that you usually have to leave out of books for adults.
Do you have a special place to write in?: I have a 3ft x 3ft wardrobe with a little desk in that I use as an office (no, honest, I do!). It's stuffed with papers and books and assorted rubbish, and I scribble away in there. It's where I pin up all the letters I get from readers.
Gallery: here are some places I've visited, and one or two other pics
Here are some online articles about me or my books:
Here's a selection of online interviews with me:
Here's what the Walker Books website said about me...
Simon Cheshire grew up in Warwickshire. He was always the quiet kid at the back of the class, and spent a lot of time staring out of the window. From a young age, he was a dedicated reader and would spend many hours absorbed in books, happily dreaming of faraway places, and completely ignoring his mother's cries of "Go out and get some fresh air, for heaven's sake!"
His first book appeared in 1997, and since then his books have been published in many countries around the world, and in several languages. He writes in a tiny room that used to be a walk-in cupboard, but which is now crammed with books, pieces of paper and empty chocolate bar wrappers.
His hobbies include movies, repairing old computers and wishing he had more hobbies. He lives in Warwick with his wife and children, although he spends most of his time in a world of his own.
Some things you didn't know about Simon Cheshire
These are some of my favourite quotations about books and writing
“The creator is nothing, the work everything” - Gustave Flaubert
“If it reads easy, it was writ hard” - Ernest Hemingway
“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout of some painful illness” - George Orwell
“I write when I’m inspired, and I see to it that I’m inspired at 9 o’clock every morning” - Peter de Vries
“This is not a novel to be tossed aside lightly. It should be thrown with great force” - Dorothy Parker
And here's an unrelated one that just makes me smile every time...
"I could have been somebody. I didn't feel like it, that's all" - Tony Hancock
Today's random press cutting...
Here's a snippet from the Rugby Observer. Click the image for a closer look.
Some of the schools, libraries and literary events I've been to in the past months include...
For younger children
Me And My Big Mouse (Walker Books 2002; reissued 2010, ebook edition)
The Frightfuls (2010, ebook edition)
For older children
Jeremy Brown Of The Secret Service (Walker Books 1997)
Jeremy Brown And The Mummy's Curse (Walker Books 1998)
Jeremy Brown On Mars (Walker Books 1998)
(These three re-issued in 2004 as a bind-up paperback, Jeremy Brown: Secret Agent; re-issued as a bind-up again in 2010 as Jeremy Brown: Spy in print and ebook editions)
They Melted His Brain! (Walker Books 1999; reissued 2010, printed and ebook editions)
Totally Unsuitable For Children (Walker Books 2000; reissued 2010, printed and ebook editions)
Bottomby (Walker Books 2000 [as Dirty Rotten Tricks]; reissued 2010, printed and ebook editions)
Pants On Fire (2010, printed and ebook editions)
Sam's Home-Made Brain Scrambler (2010, ebook editions)
The Book Of The Nearly Dead (2011, printed and ebook editions)
Deadline (A&C Black 2011, printed and ebook editions)
You've Got To Read This: A Beginner's Guide To Great Writers And The History Of Books (2011, printed and ebook editions)
The Frankenstein Inheritance (2012, printed and ebook editions)
Airlock (A&C Black 2014, printed and ebook editions)
Saxby Smart: Private Detective series
The Curse of the Ancient Mask and other casefiles (Piccadilly Press 2007, Roaring Brook (USA) 2009, Square Fish (USA) 2011)
The Fangs of the Dragon and other casefiles (Piccadilly Press 2008, Roaring Brook (USA) 2010 [as The Treasure Of Dead Man's Lane])
The Pirate’s Blood and other casefiles (Piccadilly Press 2008, Roaring Brook (USA) 2011)
The Hangman’s Lair and other casefiles (Piccadilly Press 2008)
The Eye Of The Serpent and other casefiles (Piccadilly Press 2009)
Five Seconds To Doomsday and other casefiles (Piccadilly Press 2009)
The Poisoned Arrow and other casefiles (Piccadilly Press 2009)
Secret Of The Skull and other casefiles (Piccadilly Press 2010)
Saxby Smart's Detective Handbook (Piccadilly Press 2010)
Kissing Vanessa (Piccadilly Press 2003, plus various overseas editions; reissued 2013, print and ebook editions)
Plastic Fantastic (Piccadilly Press 2004, plus various overseas editions; reissued 2013, print and ebook editions)
The Prince And The Snowgirl (Piccadilly Press 2006, plus various overseas editions; reissued 2013, print and ebook editions)
The Giant-Sized Yuck (in Story Of The Year Vol.6, Scholastic 1998)
The Adventure Of The Dented Computer (in The Young Oxford Book Of Mystery Stories ed.Dennis Hamley, OUP 2003)
Later (in Like Father, Like Son anthology, ed.Tony Bradman, Kingfisher 2006)
Books for schools
Hello It's Me (short story in Texting Texting: Science Fiction Stories, Ginn KS2 Guided Reading Programme 2003)
Tomb Raiders: Discovering Tutankhamun (Treetops True Stories series, OUP 2003; U.S. edition published by Pacific Learning, 2005)
How To Upset A Victorian (Lightning series for Year 6, Harcourt Education 2003)
The Scheming Of Morgan Le Fey (in Arthur And The Legends Of Camelot, Lightning Year 6 Plays series, Harcourt Education 2003; reissued in a standalone edition, Pearson Education 2008)
The Pit And The Pendulum (adaptation of the Poe short story, in All Alone, Navigator guided reading series, Harcourt Education 2004)
Heinemann Primary SEN "Rapid” range, Series 1 (Harcourt Education 2006)
Wild And Windy
Huge And Hungry
Double Trouble (Benchmark assessment book)
Fun Or Fear?
Fun With Food
Aliens And Enemies (Benchmark assessment book)
Mystery In The Skies
Dangers Of The Deep
Heading For Danger (Benchmark assessment book)
Heinemann Primary SEN "Rapid” range, Series 2 (Harcourt Education 2007)
The Last Laugh (Benchmark assessment book)
"Superscripts" series (Rising Stars, 2007)
The Cave Of Death
Sam’s Flood Plan (Project X series, Oxford Reading Tree, OUP 2009)
"Bug Club" series (Pearson Education 2010)
Escape In Egypt (level Orange A Phase 5)
Chase In New York (level Orange B Phase 5)
Run In The Rainforest (level Turquoise A)
Mission Improbable (weekly serial for Fiction Express, February 2013)